Image of broccoli sprouts and broccoli floret side by side on a white background with lettering why eating broccoli everyday enhances gut health by The Healthy RD

8 Reasons Eating Broccoli Everyday Enhances Gut Health

Eating broccoli everyday enhances gut health and much more.

While variety is the spice of life, broccoli and its family of cruciferous vegetables should be a daily staple for many people because of its health benefits. 

Here are 8 reasons why broccoli should be on your menu daily for gut healing.

1. Eating broccoli everyday helps normalize bowel movements

Stress can wreak havoc on the bowels because constant worry causes oxidative stress and abnormal bowel function.  

For this reason, it makes sense that antioxidant-rich foods like broccoli help to keep bowels regular. 

Research is now proving out this theory, according to a study published in Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition [R]. 

For example, people with constipation were given either broccoli sprouts extract or alfalfa sprouts extract over a period of 4 weeks.  

The results were impressive.  

Broccoli sprouts reduced symptoms of constipation and improved bowel movements, while alfalfa sprouts did not. Providing 440 mg of the antioxidants called glucosinolates is likely why bowel movements improved in this study. 

These powerful antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals in the gut.

One serving of broccoli also contains over 130 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C, another potent antioxidant. 

2. Eating broccoli everyday reduces inflammation

By dampening inflammation, broccoli reduces the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and more [R]. 

Sulforaphane, one of the major antioxidants in broccoli, reduces the chances or symptoms of other conditions like type 1 diabetes, memory loss, and autism as well [R, R, R, R].  

How could it do so many things?

The reason that broccoli may help so many conditions is that the antioxidant sulforaphane in broccoli has potent anti-inflammatory effects.  

Another perk of broccoli is that it contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids called omega 3 fats. 

One of the big inflammatory compounds that broccoli helps reduce in the body is called NF-kB.

Inflammation plays a role in neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disorders, gut conditions, cancer, and autoimmune disorders to name a few.  

NF-kB has been linked to all of these diseases [R].  

Eating broccoli everyday may not be a cure for any disease, but it sure could help reduce your chances of getting a chronic disease in the first place. 

3. Broccoli reduces digestive cancer risk

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, broccoli has “probable or convincing research” that this healthy vegetable reduces the risk of cancer, including digestive cancers [R]. 

Some impressive pre-clinical research shows the benefits of broccoli’s sulforaphane in glioblastoma, bladder cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Translation: more evidence is needed.

But what is certain is that high intakes of sulforaphane from broccoli are linked to low rates of all diseases of aging, including cancer [R, R].

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4. May help reduce chances of gastric ulcers

Early research shows that broccoli helps reduce the growth of a type of bacteria called H. pylori, which can be a cause of stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer [R, R].  

Human studies are also confirming that broccoli sprouts as an extract are helpful in reducing the gastritis related to H. pylori infections [R]. 

While it is too early to rely on broccoli sprouts as a therapy for gastric ulcers, adding in broccoli and broccoli sprouts to your diet daily definitely can’t hurt ulcers and may help prevent them. 

5. Eating broccoli every day helps remove toxins

If you want to get rid of some unwanted toxins from your gut and your whole body, you can help by turning to vegetables like broccoli. 

Sulforaphane from broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables help to  increase the detoxification enzymes in the body.

Another way that broccoli helps to detoxify the body is that it turns on an anti-aging gene known as NRF2 [R].

NRF2 is fascinating as it plays a key role in reducing many of the chronic diseases we suffer from today, including cancer and autoimmune diseases.

By also  protecting  the liver and kidney from toxic exposures, and increasing the function of liver enzymes to promote detoxification of pollutants, broccoli is indeed cleansing [R].

And, if you don’t think you are exposed to toxins, you need to check your denial radar.

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6. Broccoli provides prebiotics

Another big reason that eating broccoli everyday is good for the digestive tract is that it is rich in fiber, also known as prebiotics.  

The fiber content of broccoli specifically helps to improve the number and diversity of gut bacteria according to a recent study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry [R]. 

Broccoli helps the gut bacteria by also providing a source of antioxidants called glucosinolates, which are broken down by the gut microbiome. 

Infographic of reasons why eating broccoli everyday enhances gut health with broccoli in the background including protects from stomach ulcers, reduces toxins, normalizes bowel movements, supports healthy immunity, decreases aging, provides prebiotics, rich in nutrients, decreases inflammation, and reduces cancer risk by The Healthy RD

7. Broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse

Before reading this, you probably knew that broccoli is nutritious because broccoli is a good source of:

These nutrients all are good for your gut lining.

Not to diminish these fine nutrients, but the big benefit of broccoli is its antioxidants sulforaphane, and indoles. 

This is where many of the medicinal effects come in of this truly powerful plant and family of brassica.

8. Other reasons eating broccoli everyday is a good idea 

Broccoli, especially broccoli sprouts, helps to improve the gut microbiome and reduces inflammation in the body.  

It is no wonder that early research shows that broccoli may also help people accomplish the following too: 

  • Weight loss
  • Healthy bones
  • Blood sugar improvements
  • Heart health
  • Improve immune system function
  • Healthy bones
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Reduce heart disease
  • Anti-aging

Broccoli sprout’s anti-aging benefits are due to its rich antioxidant content. These antioxidants include sulforaphane and indoles.

Eat broccoli for healthy bones. This may be a surprise to many people, but because it is rich in many minerals like calcium, it should be on your list of foods to eat for strong bones too.

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Sulforaphane content of foods

Sulforaphane is especially high in broccoli sprouts and can contain 10-100 times more sulforaphane than broccoli florets [R].

For this reason, you should try to get broccoli sprouts into your diet a couple times a week.

Consider broccoli sprouts a new and healthy snack food in your diet; they are inexpensive and sold in little to-go containers in many supermarkets.

Who should avoid broccoli?

Most people benefit greatly from broccoli and it is also rich in vitamin K. 

For that reason, if your doctor has you on warfarin, make sure to check with them before embarking on eating broccoli everyday. 

Can you overdo eating broccoli?

As you can see, broccoli is a fantastic food to eat every day.

But, just like anything, you can overeat it.

There is a chance that broccoli sprouts in large amounts can interfere with thyroid function by binding iodine. The good news is that the antioxidant content probably overcomes any negative effect it might have on the thyroid [R].

Also, any food that stimulates NRF2 does so because of a hormetic effect. This means that there are some mild toxins in broccoli that turn on anti-inflammatory signals in the body [R].

To sum it up, enjoy your broccoli everyday, but you don’t need more than a cup a day or a quarter cup of broccoli sprouts to reap the benefits of broccoli.

Why broccoli is something I regularly eat

I eat broccoli every day, or at least I try to.   No, it’s not because I’m a glutton for punishment, or that I’ve been proselytized from years of working in nutrition.  

The science behind broccoli’s medicinal effects is compelling, and also, it tastes pretty amazing too. 

Tastes good and is amazing for me.  The decision is pretty easy. 

Broccoli isn’t hype.  

It is also not a cash cow for some food companies, so the science behind it isn’t asv prone to financial bias as other things can be.

Why get sulforaphane from raw broccoli?

Sulforaphane in broccoli is a form of isothiocyanate.  

This powerful antioxidant has anti-cancer effects, and it is present almost exclusively in raw broccoli and broccoli sprouts.

So, if you are looking for sulforaphane benefits, stick with raw broccoli.  

This compound additionally makes one of the most potent antioxidants in the body called glutathione.

Help neutralize hormones with broccoli

Another powerful compound family in Brassica is called indoles.  You may see indoles on broccoli supplement labels called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) or diindolylmethane (DIM).

Indoles have the ability to keep estrogen balance in the body, and more importantly, detoxify the hormone pathway, making estrogens less carcinogenic.

These powerful antioxidants also positively affect insulin and growth factors, both part of the complex milieu that affects growth of cancers in general, as well as other diseases of aging like heart disease.

Broccoli’s indoles also help keep testosterone balance healthy by keeping testosterone from converting into estrogen. 

The hormonal balancing act of Brassica is thought to be the reason that they reduce some of the most common kinds of cancer, including colon, prostate and breast cancer.

Indoles in Brassica also seem to reduce the chances of cervical dysplasia, and may be helpful in chronic pain situations such as fibromyalgia.

Related: Can Cruciferous Vegetables Neutralize Estrogen in the Body

Indole-rich foods

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the content of indoles is primarily from cruciferous vegetables. 

Here are some popular vegetables that are rich in indoles:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Garden cress
  • Mustard Greens
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Red Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Horseradish
  • Cauliflower
  • Choy

Indoles are derived from a broader class of compounds called glucosinolates [R].

​​For people who hate broccoli, don’t despair: you can supplement broccoli sprouts too.

How to maximize the health of broccoli

Eating should be enjoyable but also purposeful. That is why you should maximize the antioxidant content of broccoli with the following preparation tips in mind. 

  • Broccoli’s antioxidants are enhanced by the addition of mustard and turmeric. 
    • So enjoy raw broccoli sprouts with some mustard or spiced vinaigrette.
  • Indoles become inactive after even a short window of cooking.  
    • To be technically accurate, a few seconds of cooking it can actually make it more active, but most recipes don’t lend themselves to this method of preparation.
  • Cooking the vegetable, even microwaving or boiling, will dramatically reduce the indole content of Brassica.  
  • To keep it simple, eat it raw and eat it up!  Put some mustard and spices or lemon dressing on it. 
  • Want supercharged broccoli?  
    • Choose broccoli sprouts, which have up to 100 times more sulforaphane than broccoli florets. 

Watch out for toxic foods and products

To get the most out of eating broccoli every day, also try to avoid  xenoestrogens. 

These are estrogen mimickers that disrupt hormone activities in the body.

Where do they live?  

In processed foods rich in vegetable oils, sugary foods, herbicides, pesticides, hormonally injected livestock, household cleaning products, plastics, food additives, and cosmetics.

​​

Belly distress from broccoli?

Do you get bloated when eating broccoli?  

This may be a sign you have a leaky gut.  

For this reason, it makes sense to embark on a gut healing diet first before adding broccoli to your plate on the daily. 

As a rule, gradually increase the levels of broccoli or other vegetables in your diet so that you don’t have excess bloating.

Disclaimer – The information contained on this blog, website, and related content is of a general nature and not regulated by the FDA. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, or give specific medical advice. While all content is written by a registered dietitian and strives to provide only accurate, scientific-based information, your specific health needs may or may not apply to the content contained on this website and related content. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical condition. All content is copyrighted and must be used only with permission and citation to thehealthyrd.com.

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